20 Crucial Things That Lead to Depression When You’re Over 50

As people age, they experience a lot of things that can inadvertently cause depression. The problem is most people don’t know that something like having an empty nest can lead you down the path toward this mental illness. What’s more, middle-aged adults are more susceptible to conditions like Parkinson’s and stroke, which, in turn, also make their risk of developing depression higher. Learn more about this illness, what causes it, and what you can avoid through this list of things you should know about depression when you’re over 59!

The Empty Nest Syndrome Can Cause Depression

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When you’re in your 50s, there’s a high chance your kids have already moved out and started their own lives, ultimately leaving you with an empty nest. There’s such a thing as the empty nest syndrome, but it often goes unnoticed because children moving out is a regular, everyday occurrence. Even so, parents may feel grief and loneliness because of this, thus being a possible cause of depression.

Thyroid Disorders Can Lead to Depression

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The National Institutes of Health suggests that a person’s thyroid function can significantly affect one’s mental status. Simply put, if one’s thyroid functions are messed up, their emotions can get affected, too. A study published on their page notes, “Both excess and insufficient thyroid hormones can cause mood abnormalities including depression that is generally reversible with adequate thyroid treatment.”

Social Media Overload Is Bad for Your Mental Health

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Social media can become overwhelming. When this happens, people experience what some call social media fatigue. Science Direct defines this as a mix of negative emotional responses such as burnout, exhaustion, disinterest, frustration, and tiredness. As this worsens, the degree of depressive symptoms also increases.

Having Achy Joints Is a Symptom of Depression, Too

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If you’re pushing 50, you must be more mindful and cautious of your pains and aches. This is because, according to the National Institutes of Health, depression can also manifest through physical symptoms. Chronic joint pain, limb pain, back pain, and even gastrointestinal problems can all be symptoms of depression.

Low Vitamin B-12 Is Directly Related to Depression

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Numerous studies suggest that vitamin B, specifically vitamin B-12 deficiency, is closely associated with depression. Mayo Clinic says this is because vitamin B-12 and other B vitamins play a crucial role in producing brain chemicals, which affect a person’s mood and other brain functions.

Retirement May Be Detrimental to One’s Mental Health

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Retirement marks the end of a chapter in a person’s life. This undoubtedly brings about a lot of emotions—both good and bad. An article from WebMD notes, “Even for people who chose to retire, saying goodbye to their career doesn’t always bring happiness.”

Type 2 Diabetes Can Cause Depression and Vice Versa

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The National Institutes of Health says that the prevalence of type 2 diabetes, as well as prediabetes, increases alongside age. However, what most people might not know is that people suffering from diabetes are double or even three times more likely to develop depression compared to people without it. Ironically, when you’re depressed, you’re increasing your chances of developing diabetes, too. This is because one of the symptoms of depression is a change in eating habits; when you suddenly start eating food that’s bad for you, your likelihood of developing diabetes goes up, too.

Insomnia and Other Sleep Disturbances Are Symptoms and Causes of Depression

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An article from Harvard Health explains that insomnia and sleep are related to depression because it’s a common symptom for someone with major depressive disorder. In fact, insomnia has a two-fold effect on depression, doubling people’s risk of developing the disorder. Unfortunately, middle-aged and older adults are more susceptible to insomnia and sleeping problems.

Heart Problems Can Lead to Depression

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Heart problems, such as heart attacks, are things that can change your life. Once you go through something as life-changing as that, it’s easy to get stuck in a slump and feel sad and hopeless. This is why MedlinePlus notes that heart disease and depression go hand-in-hand; they are two sides of the same coin. Sadly, the heart attack risk is higher for women aged 55 and older.

Alcohol or Drug Use Worsen One’s Mental Health

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Some people drink alcohol and succumb to drugs because they want to self-medicate themselves and try to get out of a slump. However, these things only make one’s mental health worse. Rethink Mental Illness adds, “There is also some evidence that using some drugs may cause mental illness for the first time.”

Memory Problems and Depression Are a Two-Way Street

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Memory problems and depression are things that go hand in hand. On the one hand, depression and some medicines for it, like antidepressants, can cause memory loss. On the flip side, though, memory problems can also make people more agitated and, in some ways, heighten the probability of suffering from depression.

Changes in Libido May Indicate the Onset of Depression

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The National Council on Aging explains that it’s common for women to have a drop in libido starting from their late 40s and early 50s. However, one must be cautious, as lower libido can be a symptom of depression, too. Johns Hopkins Medicine agrees with this statement, as they noted that depressed people have lower energies and have negative perceptions of themselves. Therefore, they might also view their partners in a negative light.

Menopause and Hormonal Changes Can Increase the Risk of Depression

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Changes in a person’s hormonal levels can lead to the onset of one’s depressive state. Because of this, menopause is a highly possible cause of depression. The North American Menopause Society explains that women have double the risk of depression during the perimenopause years and during the menopause years itself.

Some Blood Pressure Pills Are Bad for Your Mental Health

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In general, hypertension or high blood pressure is common in older adults. Physicians usually prescribe their patients with blood pressure pills to help manage this condition. Cardio Smart notes, “None of the 41 most common blood pressure medicines were found to heighten the risk of developing depression.” However, people should still be careful because CNN published an article showing that some classes of drugs double a patient’s risk of developing depression; these drugs fall under beta-blockers or calcium channel antagonists.

Severe Health Conditions, Such as Stroke, Can Lead to Depression

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Severe health conditions that usually develop in one’s latter years, like cancer, stroke, Parkinson’s, and more, can indirectly cause depression. This is because these illnesses take a serious toll on one’s mind. For example, there’s a type of stroke called the basal ganglia stroke. The basal ganglia is the part of the brain that is most connected with emotions; when you suffer from a basal ganglia stroke, you can have post-stroke depression.

Persistent Loneliness Is a Sign of Depression

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Loneliness can happen to people of any age, but perhaps it’s more prevalent for older people. This happens because of a variety of reasons, such as someone getting weaker, them leaving the workplace, and more. However, if feelings of loneliness persist, one must also consider the possibility of depression.

Grief Can Turn into Depression

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As people get older and older, they experience more losses. They lose friends, family, and maybe even their partner due to old age. Grief, therefore, is an inevitable part of life that we experience. However, some people get so trapped in feelings of grief that they get depressed and experience other mental illnesses.

Slowed Movement or Speech Is Indicative of Depression

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Depression is a mental illness, but that doesn’t mean it only affects people mentally. Similar to how depression causes physical pain, like joint pain, it also leads to what is called psychomotor retardation—a major feature or symptom of major depression disorder. The National Institutes of Health explains that this is defined by slowed speech, decreased movements, and impaired cognitive function.

Financial Troubles Can Impact One’s Mood

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Many people experience financial problems at least once in their lifetimes. Sadly, the National Library of Medicine notes, “Financial stress has been proposed as an economic determinant of depression.” This is a much bigger problem for middle-aged men and women, mainly because they have retired or are planning to retire. Thus, they fear not being able to solve their financial issues.

Having a Reduced Sense of Purpose Can Be a Sign of Depression

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When we grow older, we eventually feel like we’ve done all we can in life, leading us to lose purpose. However, when this happens, we lose the motivation we need to adopt healthy behaviors as we age. Losing our sense of purpose can also lead to loneliness and, in the future, depression.

Read More: 20 Common Traits Poorly Educated People Usually Have

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Poorly educated individuals may exhibit certain noticeable characteristics that set them apart from others. On the flip side, some may also compensate for their lack of education by pretending to be knowledgeable in certain areas. This behavior is often a way for poorly educated individuals to maintain their self-image and self-esteem.

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20 Behaviors and Traits That Are Dead Giveaways of Having Low Intelligence

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Speaking loudly, being overly confident, or even gossiping can all be signs of someone having low intelligence. However, by recognizing these markers, people can become more proactive in addressing their limitations and weaknesses, eventually improving their overall mental and emotional capacity. Read on and learn more about the top 20 dead giveaways of low intelligence!

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20 Things You’re Doing That Make You a Bad Neighbor

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People have different personalities; that’s a fact. When you move somewhere with a tight-knit community, you will get to know many people who will either clash with your personality or make you feel like you’ve found a new friend. However, no matter what it is, remember to establish boundaries. If you don’t, you might soon see a lot of bad blood between you and other people in the community!

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20 Signs You Have Little to No Emotional Support in Your Relationship

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Navigating a relationship without enough emotional support can feel like being caught in a storm without shelter. Constant feelings of isolation, misunderstanding, and loneliness indicate a loss of balance in the emotional aspect of your relationship. Thankfully, it’s not too late to get help because we’ve gathered the top 20 signs that can help you determine whether or not you’re receiving the emotional support you need for a healthy, thriving relationship.

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20 Christian Practices That Confuse and Puzzle Others

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All regions differ in some way. Catholics collect saint cards and plan their vacations around religious sights, and Buddhists believe in karma and reincarnation. Like them, Christians also practice some things that are simply unheard of or puzzling for others. They practice tithing, cast out demons, and more!

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Author: Karen Danao


Karen is a writer and also a marketing and advertising professional. Beyond the keyboard and the screen, she is someone who’s out to enjoy every bit that life has to offer!

Poetry, philosophy, history, and movies are all topics she loves writing about! However, her true passion is in traveling, photography, and finding common ground to which everyone from different cultures can relate.